Introduction to Written Corrective Feedback for L2 Development

Introduction to Written Corrective Feedback for L2 Development

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5103-4.ch001


In this chapter, written CF is defined, and then how written CF can contribute to each of the three stages of L2 development is presented. By comparing corrective feedback in a written context to an oral context, the conclusion is made that written context is a better platform for L2 development. After presenting the underpinning theoretical frameworks, including information processing theories and socio-cultural theories, this chapter provides the research findings up to date to prove the effectiveness of written CF provided in both of the approaches. Last but not the least, this chapter highlights the questions remained in this field, which justifies the necessity and importance of further written CF research.
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Understanding Written Corrective Feedback In Cognitive Account Of Sla

Cognitive theorists believe that L2 learning goes through three largely sequential macro-processes, including knowledge internalization, knowledge modification and knowledge consolidation (Housen and Pierrard, 2005) (see Figure 1.).

Figure 1.

Three stages of L2 development (Housen and Pierrard, (2005))

When L2 learners receive information, they process it and establish form-meaning connections (knowledge internalization). When they receive additional input, L2 learners continue to refine the initially established form-meaning connections (knowledge modification) until the connections are finalized. Then L2 learners repeatedly retrieve and process the finalized form-meaning connections (knowledge consolidation), so that L2 knowledge can be used in a ‘fast, accurate, spontaneous, effortless’ way (DeKeyser, 2007, p. 288), which is the goal of L2 learning.

Before L2 knowledge is consolidated, errors are likely to occur in L2 learners’ oral/written production when they attempt to build meaning-form connections about the L2 on the basis of limited processed input or when they make faulty generalizations, incomplete applications of rules and fail to learn the conditions under which the rules apply (Richards, 1971). For example, L2 learners have learned to add –ed to some of the verbs (e.g. laugh) to form the past simple tense, thus they may be likely to add –ed to all the verbs. Providing written CF on these errors may facilitate knowledge modification, which is well explained in Gass’ (1997) Computational Model.

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